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Birding around Sofia: day trips


Birding around Sofia can be very productive for half a day or a full day. The area around the capital is rich in birdlife, especially in spring. Depending upon your interest we can visit a variety of habitats and aim for a good diversity of birds.

The habitats around Sofia

Some of the habitats around Sofia include: broad-leaved and coniferous forests, alpine meadows, wetlands, and even some dry pseudo steppe area which can be accessed within a few hours. The diversity of bird species is fantastic.

The birds around Sofia

Some of the local specialities are Nutcracker, Golden Eagle, Rock Partridge, Sombre Tit, and even the globally threatened Eastern Imperial Eagle.

When to visit?

It all depends on your time, really. Any season is good with the summer months being some of the quietest.

Winter (November – February)

Birding around Sofia in winter can be quite rewarding. Nutcrackers are rather tame and offer superb opportunities for Nutcracker photography even with wide-angle lenses. Waterfowl are also quite abundant and Black-throated Divers are regularly seen. Sombre Tit, Middle spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Long-legged Buzzard and Eastern Imperial Eagle are all on the winter list. Crested Tit, Bullfinch, White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle are all possible within a day trip. Two-day trips can be rather productive and include Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Greater Flamingos, Pygmy Cormorants, Rock Nuthatch and a few other exotics.

Spotted Nutcracker photography
Spotted Nutcracker © Iordan Hristov

Spring (March – June)

Spring is the best time if you want to see great diversity of birds. March is the time when birds would start displaying and the first migrants arrive. Rock Partridges and Capercaillies will start displaying in March. April is superb for migrating birds. Booming Bitterns are quite common in two wetlands only one hour drive from Sofia. Hoopoes, Isabelline Wheatears, Bee-eaters, Calandra Larks, Montagu’s Harriers, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Black-headed Buntings, Olivaceous Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Whiskered Terns are all possible for a day birding. A longer day involving a bit more travelling may include species like Eastern Orphean Warbler, Stone Curlew, Masked Shrike, Rock Nuthatch, Rollers, Blue Rock Thrush, Levant Sparrowhawk and many others.

Summer (June – August)

The season is fairly quiet but late migrants like Rose-coloured Starlings often form colonies in the area. Unfortunately they are unpredictable but once established they can be seen in their hundreds.

Autumn: September – October

September is the migration season. Everything is possible everywhere. Often city parks have Red-breasted Flycatchers and Thrush Nightingale.

Typical day birding around Sofia:

  • 8 a.m. picking up from your hotel with a 4WD;
  • visit to some of the hotspots around the city according to season and available information;
  • picnic lunch in nature (be ready to prepare it yourself in advance);
  • afternoon birding;
  • 18.00 end of the day and drop off at your hotel.


  • 120 EUR per person per day for individuals (1-2 persons).
  • 90 EUR per person per day for small groups (3-5 persons).

What is included:

  • guiding;
  • local transport incl.fuel;
  • use of telescope.

What is not included:

  • dining;
  • alcohol;
  • insurance;
  • flights;
  • costs of personal nature;

If interested in doing a day or more around the lakes, do not hesitate to contact me using the form here.

Gallery of images:

This tour is organised by Esenko Workshops.

Esenko Workshops is a trusted brand of Židana Marela d.o.o.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia
Licence 1134 for Tour Organiser
Licence 1135 for Tour Agent